Receipt book begun by Penelope Jephson, 1671, with later additions
[Library Title: Receipt book of Penelope Jephson, 1671, 1674/5]
Holding Library Call No.V.a.396
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#406
Place of OriginEngland
Date of Composition1671-ca. 1725
DescriptionThis recipe book is in two principal parts: a cookbook of 79 leaves (written on both sides) at the front, and a medical recipe book of 43 leaves, written from the back of the notebook going toward the center and upside-down in relation to the front. Many of the recipes in both sections are attributed to various individuals, including Sir Francis Prujean.
The front of the book is inscribed "Penelope Jephson Her Booke Anno Dom 1674/5." Following the inscription there is a (more or less) complete index to the recipes, which are entered by recipe number through recipe #120 and then by the number of the leaf or page (with complications) to the end. Recipes numbered 1 through 40 (leaf 18v) appear to be in the hand of the inscriber. The remaining recipes are in at least eight other hands.
The culinary recipes would seem to be of the seventeenth century at least through recipe #64, a rare honeyed gingerbread that is transitional to modern Anglo-American treacle/molasses gingerbread. However, the recipes for "Boiled Custard" (#91) and "Queen Cakes" (#105) were not current until after 1700, and presumably the material written between and subsequent to these recipes was also compiled in the early eighteenth century. The book is particularly rich in recipes for fruit preserves and confections (at least forty), dessert creams and jellies (at least thirty), meat dishes such as fricassees and stewed collops (around two dozen), and small dessert cakes and biscuits (at least twenty). There are also many recipes for preserved foods (pickles, collars, and dried and potted meats) and sweet wines. There are surprisingly few recipes for puddings and meat pies, given the period. Instructions for making chocolate from scratch, starting with the roasting of the cocoa beans, appear on leaf 72r. Recipe #7, "To Make Mrs. Rush her Cheescak Puffs," represents an imaginative conflation of cheesecakes, cheese loaves, and puffs, perhaps of Mrs. Rush's own devising.
The medical section is inscribed "P her Booke may ye 10 1671." The first 22 recipes are in the hand of Penelope Jephson, the remaining recipes in a number of other hands. An index precedes the recipes.
Penelope Jephson (1646-1725) married Simon Patrick, a prebend of Westminster and later bishop of Ely, in 1675, shortly after some of the receipts were added to her book. The Works of Symon Patrick, D.D., Volume 9, published by Oxford University in 1858, includes his autobiography.